Most of Europe has cheaper fuel at pumps than the UK

The UK languishes near the bottom of a ranking of European countries for action taken to ease the burden of high fuel prices.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 1st August 2022, 6:20 am
Fuel price concerns
Fuel price concerns

Only Luxembourg has done less than the UK government out of 13 European nations that have cut petrol taxes since prices began to soar in March, according to the RAC.

The 5p per litre reduction implemented by the UK in March is dwarfed by fuel tax cuts enjoyed by drivers in countries such as Germany (25.1p per litre), Italy (21.2p per litre), Portugal (16.2p per litre), the Netherlands (14.7p per litre) and Ireland (14.5p per litre).

Governments in France and Spain have introduced discounts at forecourt tills worth around 15p per litre and 17p per litre respectively.

Some fuel retailers, including TotalEnergies in France and BP Spain, have price reductions worth up to about 33p per litre.

Of the 15 European Union states that have not taken steps to lower pump prices since March, all but six already charge less fuel duty than the UK.

UK petrol prices finally started falling in recent days after pressure on retailers to reflect a drop in wholesale costs which began seven weeks ago.

But the UK still has a higher average petrol price of 186p per litre than all European Union members except Finland (190p) and Denmark (also 186p).

Drivers in France pay around 23p per litre less than those in the UK.

It is a similar picture for diesel, with only Croatia introducing a smaller fuel tax cut than the UK, and only one European Union member, Sweden, having a more expensive average price.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “This analysis lays bare an uncomfortable truth for the UK government – that compared to other European countries, it’s pretty much done the least to support drivers through the current period of record high fuel prices.

“The result is the UK being one of the most expensive places to fill up and putting it above other countries that have historically charged more for fuel than UK retailers do, including France and the Netherlands.

“The cost-of-living crisis shows no signs of coming to an end anytime soon and it’s frustrating that repeated calls to the UK government for more support are falling on deaf ears.

“UK pump prices might be finally starting to fall, but the reductions so far are too little and too late, given the massive wholesale price drops retailers have been benefiting from for nearly two months.

“Drivers, many of whom depend heavily on their vehicles, need more help and they need it now.”

Fuel prices were already rising before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but the impact of the war has exacerbated the situation.

A reduction in the use of Russian oil has increased demand from other producers, resulting in higher prices.